A Review of Case Management for People Who Are Homeless: Implications for Practice, Policy, and Research

A Review of Case Management for People Who Are Homeless: Implications for Practice, Policy, and Research

This paper discusses concepts, models and approaches to case management for people experiencing homelessness, including how these apply to various subgroups and specialty areas. It includes a literature review and recommendations on exemplary practices.

Case management programs for homeless people have proliferated since the 1980s but some have questioned the meaning and clarity of the term case management while others have questioned its effectiveness for serving clients. This paper first attends to conceptual issues, identifying primary functions and process variables for understanding and describing case management services. The paper next describes models and approaches to case management for various client subgroups and specialty areas.

The paper also reviews the empirical literature on homelessness and case management, especially as it relates to treatment effectiveness and critical factors. Several conclusions are postulated, including that some case management approaches, especially assertive community treatment (ACT), are effective for helping people who are homeless with severe mental illness; frequent service contact is a critical ingredient leading to positive treatment retention and housing outcomes; case management is more effective with some clients than others. A number of gaps in our knowledge of case management are also identified.

The final section of the paper presents recommendations on exemplary practices. These include recommendations related to critical staff skills and abilities, service principles, case management models, and organizational practices. (Author)

ORGANIZATION: National Resource Center on Homelessness and Mental Illness
EVENT: Practical Lessons: The 1998 National Symposium on Homelessness Research
PUBLICATION DATE: 1999
LOCATION: Delmar, NY, USA